When going out on the boat with the whole family, you also have to think about the unpleasant aspects of the trip. This can include having to use the bathroom.
There are many reasons that you might consider getting an onboard bathroom. Onboard bathrooms offer convenience and peace of mind while out on the water.
Types Of Toilets On Boats
Marine toilets can be a great way to take care of business while out on the water.
While on a boat, toilets are often referred to as a “head”. Some boats come with a portable head, and others even have a fixed head.
There are a few different types of marine heads that you can get equipped on a boat.
1) Self-Contained Porta-Pottys:
A self-contained porta-potty is ideal for smaller boats. With this option, you will have to empty the small tank yourself, but you might be able to use a pump-out station at certain harbors or campgrounds.
These are often cheap and small and are ideal for small daily recreational boats. You can implement this system for less than $150.00.
One thing you will want to make sure you have with these boats is a space for privacy while using it.
Often, pontoon boats will have an area that can convert into a changing area that will provide all the privacy needed for a small portable head. Other boats might have Cuddy cabins or other privacy options.
2) Fixed Plumbing Systems:
Some boats have fixed plumbing systems that come with tanks. These are generally more expensive and can cost around $1,000.00.
This is a similar system to the portable head but is instead fixed into the boat. This will likely require a system to pump the tank but can take a lot of the work and stress out of using a marine bathroom.
When a head is fixed into the vessel, it is often incorporated into a private space on the vessel. This reduces the need to find or create a private space for your bathroom.
3) Complex Treatment Systems:
These systems are also called “pump-through” systems.
Pump-through systems are made to filter and treat raw sewage.
These systems are more expensive but can reduce the need for cleaning or pumping the system. This system is built into the boat and treats sewage so that it can pump right through the system and be let out overboard.
You will also need to make sure that if anything goes wrong with this system, that you enlist a trained professional to help make repairs on your system.
These systems are often only used on liveaboard vessels because of their expense. Other systems are better for recreational boats that are intended to be used less often.
If you plan to buy a used boat with this system, you will want to make sure it was properly maintained and works properly before you buy it.
10 Boats That Come With A Toilet (A.K.A “A Head):
One of the most popular boat types that features a bathroom is a pontoon. The size and layout of pontoon boats allow for a built-in private head.
Pontoon boats are also great for adding bathrooms on yourself. With a curtain and a portable toilet, you can create your own inexpensive onboard bathroom.
Boats that feature a cuddy cabin are also ideal to have bathrooms onboard. You can often store portable toilets under the cushions and the cabin offers the privacy needed to use it.
Center console fishing boats also offer cabins with plenty of living space that includes onboard bathrooms. These boats are small, but they use the space they do have wisely and practically.
Sailboats also often come with cabins that feature bathrooms and other livable features. Often there are sleeping areas, bathrooms, dining areas, and other luxuries that make living onboard a sailboat possible.
Even if you do not plan to live aboard your vessel, you can comfortably take long sailing adventures in the comforts provided.
Sailing trips can often take days and you want to make sure you have everything required to stay on your boat for the time needed.
Yachts are the largest and most luxurious option of watercraft that includes a bathroom.
This does not mean that they are all overly big. Yachts can be as small as 40 feet and also include plenty of space and luxury.
1. Harris V270 Pontoon:
Harris offers a unique design for a pontoon boat. In addition to portside ladders, entertainment galley, power-adjustable seating, and other luxuries, there is also a full marine head with a pump-out toilet.
This head is located in the center of the vessel right in front of the console. It offers its own lighting and full privacy for the occupant:
This area is not only built-in but it doesn’t require set up or the purchase of privacy curtains, like some onboard bathrooms do.
2. Stingray 208CR Cuddy Cabin:
The Stingray 208CR Cuddy Cabin is a small boat that features a small cuddy cabin that has a small stowaway bathroom.
In addition to a convenient stowaway bathroom, this boat also has a wide design and plenty of space on deck.
The deck features a large comfortable back layout area as well as comfortable seating.
The cuddy cabin on this boat does more than just hold the bathroom. You can put large cushions overtop so that you have a space to sleep if you would like.
This boat is perfect for an overnight trip.
3. Bayliner VR5 Cuddy:
The Bayliner VR5 Cuddy is a high-quality cruiser with a cuddy cabin that is perfect for overnight boating trips. This boat is small and can seat 8 and sleep 2.
You can equip the cuddy cabin with a portable head that you purchase yourself or you can buy it as an add on for this boat.
The deck is designed well to maximize space and seating. The door to the cuddy cabin also doubles as stairs in case you choose to sit on the bow.
This boat is a small and fast recreational boat that is ideal for families as well as participating in water sports.
4. Regal 26 Express:
The Regal 26 Express comes with a mid-cabin that offers plenty of space and multiple luxuries. The salon offers a luxurious and expansive seating layout. This can be changed into a berth for overnight stays.
The deck also offers social seating that focuses on face to face contact between passengers. The deck also offers sun lounges that are multi-positional.
The cabin offers space as well as a bathroom. This boat comes with a waste tank that has an 18-gallon capacity.
This means that you do not have to empty it as often as a portable toilet, but when you do empty it, you will need to do it at a pump-out station.
5. Scout 350 LXF:
The Scout 350 LXF is a boat that is made for fishing but also allows for living. This boat features multiple motors, a center console design, and plenty of seating.
This boat comes equipped with a spacious cabin that includes 1 head. This head is built-in and very convenient for boaters who intend to stay out fishing for hours.
This boat also comes with specific fishing equipment built in. This includes rod holders, storage, and tackle drawers built into the stern seat.
The head-on this boat includes electronic overboard discharge and a 10-gallon holding tank.
6. Grady-White Canyon 376:
The Grady-White Canyon 376 is a saltwater fishing boat that focuses on function and performance as well as the small details.
This boat features an elaborate head onboard. The head includes a shower with curtain, storage drawer, sink, fold-down seat and cushion, a 10-gallon holding tank, and an overboard discharge and deck pump out.
This boat also features dedicated fishing options and tackle storage. There are built-in onboard coolers and other features dedicated to fishing.
7. Sea Ray Sundancer 350
The Sundancer 350 from Sea Ray combines function and style. This vessel features first-class amenities and a spacious cabin.
This boat can sleep up to 6 people and provides a comfortable overnight living experience in a small-sized vessel that is only 35 feet in length.
This boat offers a built-in head with a large 28-gallon tank that offers a dockside pump-out.
8. Catalina 315
The Catalina 315 is a sailboat that features teak interior, dining table, a galley containing a refrigerator, sink, and stove.
The head-on the Catalina 315 features a head with a holding tank and a deck outlet.
Not only is the cabin spacious, but the deck also allows for plenty of space and even a mounted shower.
This boat is perfect for living aboard or for long day trips.
9. BayCruiser 26
BayCruiser 26 by Swallow Yachts offers performance and amazing accommodations.
The cabin on the BayCruiser 26 provides plenty of space and large panoramic windows. This boat provides two full-length berths right in the saloon.
The galley in this boat tucks away to free up additional space when not in use.
This boat also features a private and enclosed head. This allows for privacy for restroom use as well as concealing the head from view when it is not being used.
10. 40 ft. Bavaria R40
The Bavaria R40 features 2 double berths, a saloon, and 2 heads.
Having a boat that comes with two bathrooms might seem unnecessary, but these boats are ideal for camping trips, long journeys, or other liveaboard activities even if you don’t plan to actually live aboard your boat.
This boat also offers a galley with full equipment, electricity hookups, and plenty of entertainment.
With this vessel, you would be able to travel by water to vacation destinations without worrying about the cost of booking a hotel or campsite.
Why Do You Need A Head Onboard?
There are many reasons that it’s a good idea to have a head on board your vessel.
Kids are unpredictable and often have to use the bathroom. You will want to make sure that you are prepared for anything that they can throw at you.
These instances can be unpredictable and hard to deal with if there is not a standard bathroom around.
This problem can become easier to deal with if your boat has a bathroom right on it.
Even with the proper planning, both children and adults may need to use the restroom while onboard. Having a bathroom on board can take out the anxiety of boating with families.
Even though this issue happens most often with small children, this issue doesn’t just apply to children and can happen to anyone.
Long Trips or Large Bodies of Water:
If you are traveling on a large body of water, or you are on a long journey, having a head-on board might be your only option to relieve yourself.
If you are traveling on a large body of water like the ocean or a large lake you might not have land nearby that you can stop at. Even if there is land near, you might not be able to utilize a bathroom.
One example of this might be while traveling down a long river. Just because there is land nearby, most of the structures on the river will likely be private residential homes instead of public areas.
If you plan to camp on your boat, you might also benefit from a bathroom onboard. This will help to make it so that you do not have to leave your vessel every time you need to go.
This can include having to steer the boat back to shore every time you need to go. This can be very time consuming an irritating. Especially at night while you are asleep.
If you are not camping at a dock or a marina, a bathroom on board can be a necessity.
A bathroom on board can make it easier and more relaxing than having to worry about always having a bathroom nearby or being able to get to it.
Possible Medical Issues:
It is also possible that you might have a family member with medical issues that require the use of a bathroom.
If you have one on your boat, they will be more comfortable when otherwise they might not be able to come out on the water with you.
Purchasing A Head For Your Vessel:
If you already have a vessel that doesn’t offer a toilet, you can still purchase one.
Portable toilets are ideal for current boat owners, who want a bathroom onboard. These are also ideal for pontoon boats that don’t have a bathroom built-in, or cuddy cabin boats that have space for a portable toilet.
If you go with the portable toilet option you will likely want to invest in a privacy curtain and other bathroom amenities.
These curtains can be fixed to biminis or other large structures that are featured on your boat. Some are even able to stand up all on their own.
Some of these options can include:
Camco Portable Travel Toilet:
Camco makes a portable toilet that is perfect for a boat. It has a 5.3-gallon tank for wastewater and a 2.5-gallon tank for freshwater.
This tank is easy to move and store. It is 11.5 pounds when it is empty. The freshwater tank helps to flush the toilet.
The waste tank is easy to clean and has a removable cap in the back to assist with emptying the toiled.
This toilet also comes with a sealing slide valve that locks in odors and protects your toilet from leakage.
This toilet sells for around $76.00.
Palm Springs Portable Toilet:
The Palm Springs portable toilet is a nice and lightweight toilet that is perfect for use onboard a boat. This toilet has a 3-gallon freshwater tank and a 5-gallon waste tank.
This toilet flushes by releasing fresh water from the freshwater tank while simultaneously releasing the waste.
This toilet also has leak prevention and is made very durable. It also has a handle that makes it easier to transport the toilet on and off your vessel.
This toilet is also reasonably priced at around $75.00.
Having a head on board your vessel can be an ideal situation no matter what you use your recreational boat for.
Having to use the bathroom happens to us all. Without having a head onboard, you might be forced to motor your vessel back to the dock or walk to shore whenever you need to use the facilities.
This can be a massive inconvenience and can put a damper on a fun day out on the water. Especially if you end up having to make multiple trips.
With less than $100.oo you can fix your onboard bathroom issues with a portable toilet.
If you are searching for a new boat, you can also make sure to look for one with a built-in bathroom system. These are often more expensive but can be a lot less work.
Make sure you know how to use your system, how to clean your system, and that your system is in proper working condition before you purchase the vessel.
While shopping for a boat, you will want to seriously consider your options, and choose the type of head and set up that is right for you and your planned activities while out on the water.
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Shelby Sullivan is our specialist when it comes to pontoon boats and recreational watercraft. She is often found sailing the freshwater lakes of Michigan. She is also a light-traveler who enjoys camping and traveling the world. Read more about Shelby here.